Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Travel-on the road

Its 1:30am and we are in Saratoga Springs. The room is finally quiet.I am
thinking at one o'clock tommorow we will be at the races
And this moment will be long gone...and I must, to be real and fair, post all the
sides of raising six children.

We attempt the marathon drive from the border of Canada at Niagra Falls,Ontario across the state of New York..after a morning in the water park at the Great Wolf Lodge.

We have an RV, so while the kids are making raviolis in the microwave, seeking
wifi signals and watching videos, I drive onward...towards our next adventure.

I arrive at the hotel desk alone, and I check into a three queen bedded room
and ask for a crib to be delivered to the room with extra towels and pillows.

I return to the rv and have the children go straight to the elevator,
The twelve year old has a fever.

I transfer the 4 year old naked,half asleep, wrapped in a towel, after I stripped him of his wet clothing from drinking too many bottles of milk while asleep in the RV.

We head to the room. I put the 4 year old in the crib, the twelve year old in
the bathrub with tylenol and a bottle of water and I have the 13 year old
babysit the 6,9 and 10 year old who are all in seperate queen size beds.

I go to the rv and sort out pj and clothes for the races tommorow !
I clean up the rv, wipe the counters and floor, throw out the garage and make it
fresh and ready for the morning !

When I get to the room I can hear the children from the end of the
hallway....and I hear laughter but I sense the sound might not be as appealing
to other guests now that its 1130pm

The twelve year old threw up, the four year old woke up and the ten year old is
standing in the hallway
Because he broke the one rule he agreed to and he knew the consecquenses.

Anyone who touches anyone else while I am away goes in the hallway until my work is done.

I say goodnight and they still chitty chat, I need not demand quiet, I put my
headphones in and listen to calming music.

I thank them for being on this trip with me and I tell them I choose to be here
with them and so grateful I have that choice.

Someone says, "Mom, u have to be here!" And I think silently day....they
will realize otherwise and make the same choices with their children.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

on Travel

I keep counting, the children and it seems while the number remains the same, we are getting smaller. We, the travelling unit of children, are reducing our size.

Today, for example, no one blinked when they showed us to a booth that had room for three on one side and three on the other with a chair at the end. As everyone slid in to the booth, ready to order, all on the same page, it was more important to get the order in than to worry about the seating arrangements.

Only when the bed times caused some of us to read while the others went to sleep did any one question why we only had one room when we usually get two. Granted this child friendly hotel caters to larger sleeping arrangements, but we are down scaling our needs as we travel together and are needs become more refined as a group.

A family! This must be what is meant of a family vacation bringing people together.

Tonight I sleep in a queen size bed with my four year old, the twelve year old in the pull out couch next to me, the "KIDS CABIN" which is an upper bunk bed for the six year old, under her the 9 year old and across from them the ten year old.
Finally the thirteen year old in a single blowup bed across the room.

A family, we are in such close quarters, I have this great chance to be the mother I want to be. Tonight I pray;

"Therefore since we are surrounded by such great witness let us throw off
everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run
with perserverance the race marked out for us
(HEB 12:1)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Ontario

Some tips on crossing the boarder to Canada.

*Did you know you need a letter from your husband
if you are crossing the boarder alone with your
six children?

I think it would be worse if you tried crossing with only two. You see
not even the boarder control guards believed that i was the birth mother
and guardian of all these young children. First they verified this information when I presented their passports, then they proceeded to ask me if I am leaving my husband and fleeing with my children to Canada.....I think even the border control guard chuckled just a bit when he asked this standard question.

We entered Ontario, Canada and drove straight down Victoria Road to the great Wolf Lodge. Now 200 tokens later I am in Bed, watching a Pay-Per-View and I am queen !
Everyone is assigned to everyone.....Everyone wants tokens, I am more than happy to abide.

If I didnt expect to give my children tokens, then I should have not pulled into this place to begin with. My best advise is to create a token plan.

Start Fresh. Everyone gets the same amount of tokens, maybe the older kids a few more for watching the younger ones. Dont hold any old behavior over anybody.

I gave my credit card to the ten year old for him to use the credit card machine to get the 200 tokens and divide them up amongst everyone. What a great chance I have to show how much I trust this child. What a great opportunity for him to feel responsible about his new wallet which he carries everywhere. It now holds mom's credit card. She Trusts me. I am responsible. I feel proud of myself.

What can you do today to make your child feel responsible and proud?

Monday, August 23, 2010

On Travel

How is it travelling with six children?

The questions that you will be asking will probably be logistics. I am really good at logistics (This made me able to accept my lifes purpose, to raise these six children and live in love with my husband)

Travelling with six children is coaching a team of different individuals who all have different skill levels (due to age and size) but all need to learn how to play
-On the Team----- in this Family------in life

I am constantly learning how to offer them what they need, without punishing them or trying to control them....when they are out of bounds or completely off sides.

I am happy that they find it in them to jest about the endless books or tapes i read and hear in order to keep myself educated.

Here, in a Comfort Inn, I look right and see my RV Parked along Niagra Falls Drive, with the Comfort Inn Pass in the Window! (The only way I was able to park and sleep
closest to the Falls on the American Side.

I look left and see the 6 year old,9 year old, 4 year old and 10 year old all lined up on the end of their bed,watching the game one is playing on the tv, with paper cups of fruit loops, showered and dressed in clean, collared shirts and cacky pants. I see the door to the connecting room where
the 12 year old and thirteen year old are still trying to sleep .

We are going over RAINBOW BRIDGE to Canada today and we have all voted on a list of things we are going to do in Ontario. They include:

*Maid of the Mist Boat to under the Falls
*Crystal Cave park
*Cave of the Wind (where you walk out into the falls edge)
*Indoor Gravity Free Skydiving

and Overnight in the Majestic Bear Suite at the Great Wolf Lodge, Amusement Park Level, Victoria Road, Ontario, Canada !

Why do I do this? Because it is all that I want to do, because it is most natural to be here in this role, in these relationships, in this adventure.

Is there an adventure waiting for you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

on Road Trips

It was Friday morning,
the BLUE VAN (which has 12 seats and enough room for
luggage, picks us up to take us to the airports
EVERY TIME. Its $100.00 to JFK and they are always on
time 1-800-bluevan)

We have one way tickets to ROCHESTER, NY which we got
for about $61.00 per person on US AIR

We have DAVID from the RV RENTAL CENTER in Rochester, New York
meeting us with a 28 foot self drive recreational vehicle.

The load the 9 sports size green matching duffle bags and 3 black body size duffle bags. The body bags are filled with the sleeping bags, tents and camping gear and get stored in the belly of the RV. The personal green duffle bags go
inside the shower stall and are loaded in the RV curbside at Rochester Airport
and we head on our way west !

Every ONE child has one bag with all their clothes
There is ONE extra bag with all swimming gear,goggles,towels,floaties
One bag is for me
and one more bag for sneakers and toiletries

There we are, on the road with no reservations. We know we are going to visit NIAGRA FALLS and we know we are going camping, and thats all we know !


We check into a hotel room with three queen beds that is attached to an AMUSEMENT PARK similar to Six Flags and Action park Water Park combined .

What could be better.....................

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On Communication

"If we want to be influential, than we have to first bring ourselves under control.
Only then can we choose our response. Only then can we choose how we want to behave regardless of how our children behave"

"We are much less responsible for our children then we have ever been told, however we have a far greater responsibility to our children than we have ever realized"

"Our biggest struggle as parents is not with the television,not with the computer and not even with drugs and alcohol. Our biggest struggle as parents is our own reactivity. Thats is why the greatest thing we can do for our kids is to learn to focus on us, not them. Instead of trying to CONTROL our kids, lets consentrate on
what we can control--calming our emotional knee-jerk reactions"

These are some quotes from a great book I just finished by Hal Edward Runkel
called "Scream Free Parenting, the revelotionary approach to raising your kids by keeping your cool !"

Enjoy the rest of your summer and enjoy reading !

Monday, August 16, 2010

on Being House Guests

You might wonder how many times we are invited to be house guests of someone else with six kids......but

We are invited a lot more than you would expect!

We are a clan, we are a group charged with an enormous amount of energy,we are a family !

I was so proud of my children this weekend, as they test out their own identities in an envirment that is safe, all summer long,

Here when they are out of their envirnment, guests in someone elses house,
they are who they are! Children I am proud of !

I make sure to ask my hosts

"What are the rules in your house, on your property for us"
I teach my children that its important to find out what someone elses
rules are and what would make them comfortable while we stay here !

We learn that one rule is to close all the gates to the street and to the pool.
I watch as my children roam freely around the perfectly manicured hedges, reaching so high, they dwarf even the ten year old. I watch them enter and exit the pool...and look behind that the gate is latched!

I never tell them how I expect them to behave, but I ask some important questions

" What is your rule on us going into your refrigerator"
" What is your rule on shoes in and out of the house"

We walk around the house and we come to a garden. New York City Children do not often see tomatoes growing , ready to pick.

I pull one off the vine and I sing

"Mortals join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began
Love divine is reigning over us
leading us with mercys hand

Ever singing, march we onward
Victors in the midst of strife
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life"

and we eat !

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On Summer Memories

I have just completed the 50 pages of summer book for each child. I purchase small books, notebook style. On the left side of the page I print a picture every night of each child.

I travel with a $100 picture mate camera printer which comes with a travel case! Every night or morning I print out a picture and use double stick tape to tape it to the left side of this small note book.

On the right side, I write down a small memory of the day.

This causes me to CREATE MEMORIES. How can I go a whole day and not connect with a child, I can not. Creating memory books helps me to bring my intention of connecting with my children every day tied to an action .

Print out some pictures today, write about them. There are a few weeks before school starts. What better present to give to your child, them an end of the summer journal from you to them !

Good Luck with creating your summer memories

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

on Dicipline

As important it is to grow and expand and learn new and improved ways to handle situations in your life, when these changes involve smaller people, less powerful people, they might not understand the changes taking place and how you are handling the situation differently, they might think it unfair as the rules have changed.

And they might be right.

So you have to be as good at explaining how the 'unjustices' are what is causing the new behavior.

I think you have to explain that when one action doesn't create the result you want, you have to try another.
I am VERY CLEAR that my intentions are not to bring poison or angry words into their lives, for I lov them, they are my children, and I want to see when happy.

I have explained how I see it unfair when the older children beat up on a younger one, or when a value is not respected and therefore it might seem just as unfair for me to remove the internet wire and make the children win it back by having to beat me in TENNIS (my strongest sport).


they can stop the ungodly behavior and return to the UNITY OF BROTHERS in our house.

I am clear that they do not have to LIKE eachother, that their feelings, whether love or hate, are ok, they are their feelings and I have no desire to control what they feel.

But mutual respect and accountability are the VALUES we share in this house as a family! And here I stand strong!

I have to say that being consistant has brought the children towards me and not drawn away from me as they know what to expect.

They know that their actions are not going to create a reaction in me but a calmer more serious effect.

Be strong with your lessons and make sure they are teaching something !

Thursday, August 5, 2010

On Summer Ending

Living in New York City there is a very different energy than living in a
Country Club Southern Georgia Beach front resort.

Some people live here year round. There is a private school called Federica
Academy which caters to the children of this community.

And what would life be like then, would it really be the continuation of summer ?
We might be playing tennis, but would it feel the same
When it would be sandwiched inbetween denist appointments for braces
adjustments, school pickups and dinner-homework time.

As I lounge here, typing my post on the phone, I sit besides my two older sons,
who are squenched up besides eachother
Sharing something
Communicating with eachother
In a language they will always
Speak to eachother

Feeling their lov , seeing their wide white eyes, their smiles.....

I'm leaving here soon, and it makes me yearn to stay.

Maybe I am yearning to stay in this feeling of connection and love with my
children around me !

I will take the time I have left in this place, in this summer, to be
The best I can be, to myself, to my husband and to my family.

I am thankful for the time I have spent in this fabulous place and grateful for
all the people around us this summer who have made it even more special !

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On competition

Just before my Tennis Lesson, I disconnected the blue cable that runs from the black blinking INTERNET box and the LYNSKYS box that was located behind the dresser here in our summer cottage.

I tied it around my waist and I said :


Now I know it is not right to just jump into a situation where my children are all off in their own personal hyponoptic states:

My four year old on my blackberry playing Brickbreaker
My six year old watching the nine year old over the shoulder playing angry birds
My ten year old playing planets verses zombies
(the twelve year old is still at camp until Friday)
The thirteen year old, watching episodes on the internet of
a crude aminated cartoon tv series which is not allowed on the
TV due to its content and the ages of the children in our house)

I stated anyone who wants to beat me best of three games to twenty one
in Tennis. The instructor can keep score and serve the ball in will get the cord back....and I will say nothing until we leave here!

If they loose, they come with me for 30 minutes every day to play tennis until we leave! No cord !

Sure I was confident! My children are GREAT ATHLETES but I have been playing Tennis EVERYDAY ! I have always played tennis, but not very well. I have been learning to play tennis, REAL TENNIS here, maybe for the first time, and my kids know I have played every day.

So if I beat them, I teach them that if you practice something every day you can get good, and if I loose, then they can enjoy the victory and I will have no guilt...(about their computer playing time, not loosing.)

And I get the added bonus of playing tennis with them everyday !

I won and the computer cable was laid to rest !

Today at 1:00pm the competition continues. The computer wire will be waiting ontop of white towels at the end of an Olympic Size Pool. Our swimming instructor will be the judge of the race between anyone who wants to beat me in swimming one lap for the wire!

If they loose they play Tennis with me everyday for the full hour.

Im gonna buy a speedo now !

Have a great Day !

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Whats Your Favorite Song ?

I woke up one of my children today at 7:42 am and as I watched the chilcboymanish
face of my 10 year old come alive-----i asked him "Whats Your Favorite Song?"

He rubbed his eyes in wonder of what possibly could be going on.

What fun we are going to have playing the ipod and discussing music
all day long. What good feelings are we all going to create by making
someone feel we care this much and want to know !

Our family , brothers and sister can all join together and play songs
that THEY like to their brother, and help him find a favorite song !

Lets stop for a moment at that thought.

Its a chance for me to teach a lesson to him as well
A good one! One I want
to teach my children about the Joy of Life, The Feeling of Excitement
about doing something FOR SOMEONE ELSE!

Do something today to bring joy and happiness to you and others